Istanbul, MINA – Turkish courts have heard arguments from both sides about turning the Hagia Sophia Museum, a 6th-century building in Istanbul, back into a mosque and that its verdict will be announced in 15 days.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has proposed to restore the status of Hagia Sophia from the UNESCO World Heritage Site back to the mosque, as quoted by TRT World.
Hagia Sophia is a building in the heart of the Byzantine Christian kingdom and the rule of the Ottoman Muslims. Today, it is one of the most visited monuments in Turkey.
The government’s decision to turn the mosque into a museum was made in 1934, the early years of the modern secular Turkish state founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
The case that was tried on Thursday explores the legality of the conversion.
Lawyers for the group trying to turn the iconic building back into a mosque argued, the building was privately owned by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II, who conquered Istanbul. Lawyers urged the cancellation of the 1934 Council of Ministers decision to turn it into a museum.
Meanwhile, a state lawyer who opposed it argued that the 1934 decision was legal.
He recommended the request was rejected, arguing that the decision to restore the heritage of Islamic buildings up to the government. (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)